Outlier Media, the Detroit-based independent platform that embodies news as a utility, recently joined URL Media as our newest publishing partner, bringing the total number of high-performing BIPOC-owned newsrooms in the network to 13.
Founded by journalist Sarah Alvarez in 2016, Outlier Media combines information-needs assessments, resident engagement, investigative reporting, and a text messaging service to bring a fresh kind of accountability to the Detroit journalism landscape—one that is directly influenced and shaped by residents’ news and information needs.
The audience-centric approach is meant to help Detroit residents keep the powerful accountable and create the change they want to see in their lives and communities. Outlier accomplishes this both by enabling its journalists to interact one-on-one with Detroit residents through text as a main audience engagement channel, and by giving residents training and compensation to report on public meetings through Outlier’s collaboration with City Bureau’s Documenters program.
“Outlier’s approach to journalism relies on collaboration across communities and newsrooms,” said Outlier’s Executive Director, Candice Frontman. “Our mission would be impossible to achieve without deeply rooted partnerships. Working together with URL Media was a natural fit, and we’re glad to embark on this collaborative approach to uplifting valuable and rigorous editorial content while also approaching the work of newsroom sustainability as a shared effort.”
The mission and approach make Outlier a strong fit for the URL Media network. Following racial justice protests across the nation in 2020, journalists and entrepreneurs Sara Lomax-Reese and S. Mitra Kalita launched URL Media in January 2021 to address the persistent underfunding and underrepresentation of BIPOC-owned media.
URL Media kicked off with eight inaugural media organizations representing a diverse mix of cultures, media formats, geographies and audiences. Members of the network share content, distribution, advertising revenues and other resources to enhance their partners’ reach, help expand their revenue, and be part of the long-term sustainability formula for publishers across the BIPOC-owned media landscape.
With an audience- and accountability-driven approach, we’re confident that Outlier Media will be a pillar among our partners.
“Outlier Media embodies our anchor values—uplift, respect and love—in the way it centers, prioritizes, and activates its community within its reporting,” Kalita said. “I’ve long been inspired by its approach. We’re so excited to help expand the reach of its essential work, and to learn from the innovative ways Outlier partners with community to co-create relevant solutions-centered journalism that empowers the whole.”
Outlier Media joins URL Media partners WURD Radio, Epicenter-NYC, Documented, Scalawag, The Haitian Times, TBN24, ScrollStack, Palabra, Native News, Sahan Journal, Black Voice News and Our Body Politic.